Whether you work in the tech industry, a commercial sector that relies heavily upon it, or in a completely unrelated field, chances are you’ve heard the term, blockchain. From Twitter timelines to news reports to water-cooler conversations, it’s increasingly becoming a part of our global lexicon, right along with its cousins, cryptocurrency (crypto) and bitcoin.
If this emerging area of technology still seems a bit fuzzy and vague to you, take heart – you are not alone. But one thing is clear: blockchain technology is materially changing the tech industry. It is creating new opportunities – including increased demand for technical talent – based on new ways of doing business and how we transact, invest, store, secure, share and leverage digital data.
To get you up to speed, here’s a primer on how blockchain technology works and how it’s transforming the tech space.
What is a blockchain?
A blockchain in its simplest form is a distributed or decentralized database in which a set of data (a digital ledger of transactions) is stored among a network of computers making it more secure and difficult to hack or alter. In turn, this enables people to use the data to transact with one another more securely, without a third party, like a bank or government, being involved to control the transactions.
How do blockchains work?
Blockchains work by collecting data in groups called blocks. These blocks of information have certain storage capacities that once filled, are closed and linked to the previous block, forming a chronologically ordered data chain or blockchain. In this way, no single person has control over the data. Rather, all contributors to the chain collectively control it.
All transactions are decentralized and transparent, time-stamped, permanently recorded, and irreversible. You can think of it in some ways like a Google Doc. A single distributed document can be easily accessed and edited by multiple people anywhere, with all changes recorded and made in real-time. Another, and probably even better example of a decentralized public ledger is the Venmo app.
Blockchain technology was first conceptualized by academia in 1982 as a “distributed computer system that can be established, maintained and trusted by mutually suspicious groups.” But it was brought to life in 2008 as a way to support bitcoin, a “peer-to-peer electronic cash system.” Bitcoin became the first and most well-known digital currency or cryptocurrency. Slowly, but surely, bitcoin, Ethereum (Ether), Dogecoin, and thousands of other kinds of digital cryptocurrencies have been emerging and gaining acceptance due in large part to the benefits and success of blockchain technology.
How is blockchain technology being used in business
The use of decentralized blockchain technology is creating all kinds of business opportunities across many different industries. These range from health care, with applications in genetic coding, securing patient records and managing drug supply chains; to finance, by enabling more transparent governance, speeding up processing times, lowering capital requirements, increasing security, and reducing fraud.
What does the rise of blockchain tech mean for employers and candidates?
As blockchain technology continues to integrate itself into mainstream business applications, more employers are finding themselves in need of talent with the right kinds of skillsets to be able to understand and work with the technology, and its ecosystem.
Developers with hard skills like Java, Python, machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), C/C++, Node.js, and Amazon web services are all critical, as are non-tech candidates with the right kinds of soft skills such as creativity, problem-solving, communication. Digitally-fluent entrepreneurial candidates and those who are strong team players also fit naturally into this world.
At CSI Companies, we are continuing to fill a wide-variety of blockchain tech-related roles including software developers, web developers, data engineers, network and security architects and engineers, machine learning engineers, technical writers, data scientists, research analysts, financial analysts, marketing managers, business development reps and more.
As blockchain technology continues to reshape the tech industry, CSI is here to help companies evolve their talent, technologies and business systems to be prepared for, and take maximum advantage of this exciting evolution.
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